Wander Minnesota: The Eelpout Festival
Winter, schwinter. Fie upon thee, polar vortex. Think we can’t take it? We can, we do, and we still celebrate the outdoors.
Or at least, that seems to be the prevailing attitude for the upcoming Eelpout Festival in Walker, Feb. 20-23. The Eelpout Festival marks its 35th year this year, and in one crazy weekend, the city of Walker sees its population explode from 1,500 to more than 12,000.
The “Mardi Gras on Ice” is a, shall we say, highly-spirited weekend, with the Coors Keg Castle, lots of live music, dancing and plenty of food, including an eelpout fish fry.
But that’s not all. There’s mechanical bull riding:
and bonfires out on Leech lake:
Of course there’s a polar plunge.
And some serious winter stylin’:
Still not convinced? There’s also pout curling, eelpout beer pong, eelpout rugby, and the chance to tour the lake encampments.
And gosh, you never know who you might run into up there.
All in celebration of what the festival’s organizers call one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling catches out there — the eelpout.
No wonder this ugly fish is so beloved.
What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.